The Modern Slavery Act 2015: Effects on the Property Industry One Year On

by Reed Smith
Contact

Modern Slavery is broadly a term covering slavery, forced labour, servitude and human trafficking. It has been described as “the great human rights issue of our time” by Theresa May.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was introduced as part of an effort to tackle the issue by imposing a requirement on every large business carrying on any part of its business in the UK (including companies registered abroad but which engage in commercial activities in the UK) having a total annual turnover of £36m or more to produce a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year of the organisation. ‘Turnover’ means the turnover of that organisation and the turnover of any of its subsidiaries. Groups can make one statement but may have to post this on several websites depending on how complex their business is.

The Modern Slavery Act statements must set out what companies are doing to identify and mitigate risks of modern slavery taking place within their company and in their supply chains.

For more details on the corporate reporting requirements under the Modern Slavery Act, please refer to the October 2015 blog posted by our Employment team.

A large number of Real Estate companies are affected by the reporting requirements:

  • Investors using companies incorporated outside the UK that own UK investment properties having a turnover of at least £36 million will have to comply (taking subsidiaries into account for the turnover calculation).
  • Landlords and their asset managers need to think which of their contracts (or sub-contracts) might be sensitive and the examples we can think of will be cleaning companies or the employment of agency staff.
  • Even where a managing agent does not itself have an obligation to report because of the size of its business, it may receive requests for information regarding its anti-slavery practices.
  • Tenants must also be aware that landlords form part of their supply chains on the basis that landlords supply them with services so may require information each year and may request ongoing compliance covenants in their leases
  • There is a lot of publicity already about the need for the construction sector to be aware of the strong risks of exploitation of labour which exist in their supply chains.

A year has passed since the Act came into force and the reporting has been criticised in some areas for not going far enough towards tackling modern slavery.

Our Employment team’s most recent post reports that companies tended to explain their structures and policies covering modern slavery well, but failed to adequately describe the practical measures being taken to assess their effectiveness. Examples of statements published by Real Estate companies corroborate this.

It was also found that contractor relationships are a key omission from statements. For the Real Estate sector, and particularly in the context of the contractor and sub-contractor relationships mentioned above, these clearly will be key points to be addressed.

The negative conclusions coming from the research into these initial company reports are not unexpected given that most companies are still attempting to find the most effective ways of reporting and many lack sufficient resources to conduct due diligence and to support supplier improvements to tackle the issue.

Be aware that changes to the legislation to make it stricter are already pending and Real Estate companies will need to ensure that they are adequately aware of their increasing obligations.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Reed Smith | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Reed Smith
Contact
more
less

Reed Smith on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.